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Alice Austen House

About this listing

Historic home of photographer that exhibits her works

Place Details

Borough : Staten Island
Neighborhood : Rosebank
Residential, What New Yorkers Find Beautiful, Arts and Entertainment, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

Across the street from an unexceptional high-rise, a smooth green lawn slopes down to the water, and on the lawn sits a little white house with gingerbread decoration and a long Dutch roof. Clear Comfort - it’s as charming as its name, and it belonged to Alice Austen, a photographic pioneer of the Victorian era. Originally a simple 18th-century farmhouse, it was bought by John Austen, Alice’s grandfather, in 1844; he set about transforming it into a pastoral cottage, with elaborate Carpenter Gothic detail and glorious gardens. Alice moved there with her family as a little girl and spent most of her life there until, facing financial problems and illness, she was forced to move out in 1945. After two decades of disintegration, the house was saved and restored, as a museum of Alice Austen’s life and work.

By the time she was 10, her Uncle Oswald had taught her how to use a camera and from then on she

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Nominations

Sandra Wapner

Clear Comfort is a charming 17th century home, associated with Alice Austen, a Victorian photographer, who captured New York life over several decades. The place houses changing exhibits of her photographs.

Both the building and the collection have a strong sense of historic New York. The scale and detail of the building are charming, and the view is spectacular.

(Feb. 2005)


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